Winter Cycling: slip-sliding around

The cold weather on my way to work this morning made me cycle more cautiously than usual.   But there were plenty of people bombing past me at full speed - so it made me wonder if I was being over cautious, or if they were chancing it?  By far the greatest cause of injury to cyclists is from what are called non-collision incidents. These are incidents that result from skids and slips or collisions that don’t involve another vehicle. They often occur during poor weather as a result of cycling too fast and not allowing enough braking time.

If, like me, you cycle all year round regardless of the weather, you might like to read out top tips:

  • Let a little air out of your tyres so they’re slightly squidgy – it increases grip between tyre and ground
  • Lower your saddle – if you’re are closer to the ground, it will be easier to put your feet down and prevent that fall
  • Start out cautiously
  • Make every move gently and brake as little as possible.  Allow more time to brake
  • Go slowly and use a low gear to help maintain a gentle pace
  • Don’t make sharp turns
  • Don’t be afraid to get off and walk if you see an icy patch!

John Franklin, the author of Cycle Craft, the cycle trainer’s bible, says:

‘Personally, although I have ridden in such conditions many times, it's not something I enjoy. When I cycled daily to work I would sometimes walk instead on the worst days and it's important that cyclists recognise that this is a justifiable option.’

Of course, Life Cycle recommends that if you are planning to carry on cycling you have some training with one of our experienced instructors. They can support you to cycle confidently on road – and teach you how to assess risk, plan your journeys and keep safe.

Still, however much caution cycling to work on an icy morning requires, it is nothing compared to the terrifying high-wire cycle, eight-stories up for the launch of Bristol Green Capital! In case you didn’t - check it out - it gives “risk” a whole new meaning!